The surge of e-commerce and demand for online services last year has accelerated the migration towards innovative technology. Digital payments are becoming a key aspect of life with more people shopping virtually, and governments across the gulf encouraging residents to use apps to pay for public services.
Almost half of the consumers in the region are willing to spend more on e-commerce for good, and businesses, fintech firms as well as banks are racing towards digitisation to cater to this rising demand. Qatar-based Dukhan Bank had already embarked towards a cashless future with contactless credit and debit cards, and now the lender has launched wristbands to act as payment platforms.
Not just wallets and cards, now people can also put their smartphones aside, since they’ll wear the bank’s e-payment platform D-Pay up their sleeves. The wristbands have chips which use NFC tech to process digital transactions at terminals in restaurants, stores and fuel pumps.
The device coming in three colours allows shoppers to pay as much as QR1500 a day, and is part of Dukhan Bank’s digital transition, which includes plans for 24 hour e-banking services. Although the cashless push marks the adoption of a new normal with social distancing in place, the lender also facilitates touch-free cash withdrawals at ATMs.
Among its peers, the Qatar National Bank has also roped in fitness tracker makers Fitbit and Garmin, to carry out transactions for its consumers via payment platforms on smartwatches. Payment brand Mastercard has enabled people to convert their cards into a chip that can be integrated into any wearable tech accessory.
Several similar initiatives are being introduced across the Middle East where retail chains like Carrefour are offering scan and pay options for consumers in UAE. Airports in the Emirates have also introduced self check-in kiosks, which can be controlled via smartphones to ensure completely touch-free service, including payment for extra baggage.
A salon in Dubai is even installing tiny storage devices on people’s nails, which may also double up as platforms for payment in a smart future.